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io8                  HISTORY OK PKRSIA                  niM,
There was an inner doctrine tor the fully initiated, which,
as Browne puts it, was u philosophical ami eclectic, borrow-
ing much from old Iranian and Semitic systems urn! some-
thing from Neo-Pliitonist and Neo-lH'thag'orean ideas. It
was Dominated throughout by the mystic number AVw;;;
there were Seven Prophetic Periods . . . and each of
these Seven great Prophets was succeeded by seven
Imams." *
The task of the </<// was to arouse curiosity by asking
questions such as ; u Why did (!od create the I Iniverso in
Seven Days?" a Why are there Seven Heavens, Seven
Earths (or Climes), Seven Seas, and Seven Verses in the
Opening Chapter of the Koran ?" Among- (he more subtle
questions were the following : u What, in reality, are the
torments of hell ? How can it be true that the skins
of the damned will be changed into a fresh skin, in order
that this fresh skin, which has not purtieipat'ed in their
sins, maybe submitted to the tortures of hell ?M After
a convert had been won, he was induced to take an oath
of allegiance to the did us representing the Imam, and to
pay the Imam's money.
The Vatimid Dynasty ^ AJI. 297 567 (90*) 11 7 i)^_The
founder of the Fatimid dynasty was the grandson of the
oculist. Taking the name of Abu Mohamed Obaydulla,
he conquered the larger portion of northern Africa and
made Mahdiya, near modern Tunis, his capital. Sixty
years later Egypt was added to the kingdom, and by the
end of the tenth century AP. the greater part of Syria,
including Jerusalem, was in the hands of the Fatimid
line, which bore sway until the famous Salah-u-Din, the
Saladin of the Crusaders, overthrew their kingdom in
A.H.  567 (1171).
The most notorious personage of the dynasty thus
founded was Hakim Biamrillah, or " lie who rules by
the order of God/* who claimed divine honours and,
possibly in imitation of the twelfth Imam,c< disappearedJ>
from the earthor else was assassinated* It is of interest
to note that his adherents, the Druzcs, who derive their
name from al-Dutmi, Hakim's Vizier, survive to the
1 Qp*c"tt. vol. Ii p, 197,